How to Dad

Today was a day for good news. My oldest friend is about to become a father.

My son, Desmond, was unplanned.

Jeff Goldblum said it best.

Life finds a way.

It was kind of nice actually. I got to ride that roller coaster in all of its glory. I knew that we had no idea what we were doing, I never once felt bad about it. It was a ride I bought the ticket to, without any knowledge of the twists, turns and falls.

There was a certain joyful abandon to it all. It was an adventure for which no one was prepared and we were all just rolling with the punches. Desmond is two and a half now. He is everything good in me.

My friends pregnancy wasn’t unplanned. I’m not sure if they were actively trying, but they were recently married and letting things take their course. They were ready.

Only that’s really not how having kids happens.

I may have never seen the ride I was about to take, but my friend was given a fuzzy photo of a ride that loosely resembled the ride next to the ride they were about to take.

I don’t mean to do any disservice to him or his. He is and has always been a wonderful friend and has grown to be a superb man and will no doubt be an amazing father.

It’s just that there is no accurate post card from fatherhood. There is no advice that is guaranteed to stick or even be relevant. No amount of planning eases the worry of a soon-to-be mother, or the anxiety of a dad changing his first diaper at 2AM alone in a hospital room. There is no salve for sleepless nights and endless tears and an emotional strain that is simply unmatched.

There is no way to prepare a young man for the feeling of gently singing your newborn to sleep as you pace endless hours in the middle of the night, no readying him even for the idea of singing.

You’ll never know which things you really need (waterproof [pee proof] mattress covers). Which you don’t (diaper genie anyone?).

The simmering rage of hearing ignorant professionalsĀ guilting a mom over how she feeds her child.

First words that may or may not even be words. First steps and rolls. The first time you bump their precious head on a door frame.

The look on your love’s face when she catches you humming to him

I haven’t really thought about what life was like before my son until now. I consider all of the things that they are about to learn and experience and I just simply can’t believe how naive everyone is about parenting. No one is ever ready to be a parent. Anyone who says they are is, frankly, delusional.

It is perhaps the only experience I can name, for which I have no words to capture.

There is no best way to be a parent. There is no advice or list or book that will tell you everything you need to know, or remotely clue you in on how you will feel.

It’s beautiful. It’s terrifying.

 

Joey and Brittany,

I love you.

And I love your baby boy.

I’ll be here always.

Enjoy the ride.

 

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Desmond and his mom, the morning he was born.

 

 

 

 

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